Saturday, May 29, 2010

MDRA Beginning Runners Graduates






We held the final session of our MDRA Beginning Women's Running Class in Maple Grove on Wednesday. Not only did the women make phenomenal progress but they had fun while doing it! That's what it is about for me, having fun.

We completed the course with a timed mile first and a pot luck afterward. Nobby brought sushi and it was fabulous.

For the first timed mile, we had 25 people complete it, average time for these 25 people was 702.7 seconds (=10 min. 12.7 sec.); the fastest being 9:29 and the slowest being 14:30 (3 people sub-10 minutes).

For those who completed the course, we had a record of "100% improvement". We had average 10.9% improvement; the least improvement being 4.6% improvement (from 11:09 to 10:38); most improvement being 18.2% (from 12:48 to 10:28). Average improvement being 72.6 seconds!! (over a minute+!!!) We had 3 people sub-9 minutes with the fastest being 8:11, the slowest being 11:14 which would have placed her the 12th fastest person in the first timed-mile 8 weeks earlier.

Isn't that incredible? All finished the final mile test with smiles on their faces!

Last Saturday many of the women completed the Maple Grove 5K with 1 gal even running the Maple Grove half marathon! Amazing.

I've certainly enjoyed the past three years that I have been coaching with MDRA. I am looking forward to a 4th year. I may be coaching the 5K/10K class which will begin in August. We'll see!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Inspiration. Motivation. Personal Growth.




This weekend was incredible. That is so cliche' but it is exactly what this weekend was to me. Incredible.

I flew into Chicago on Friday morning, then driving to Rockford. As I entered my room laden with my weekend bags I sent a text to Angie letting her know I had made it to the hotel.

Now, I have never met Angie person to person. I know Angie as "Angie from IL" on the LL website. 5 years ago Angie and I took part in Coach Dave Greenwaldt's Bootcamp 1 (Bootcamp 13 just wrapped up). We have been active in LL since and keep in touch via the boards. A few months ago Angie emailed me to see if I would coach her to run her second half marathon. Of course I would! She finished the half in horrible conditions, but in fine form, two weeks ago.

As soon as I sent my text my phone rang. It was Angie, stating she would be right over. I was stunned. I quickly put my bag down and she was at my door. After hugs and hellos she took my hand and led me down the hallway to another room. A room where Liz from NY, Robin from IL and Mary from IL were. Liz has been training for figure and Mary for bodybuilding. They look amazing and both have lost over 100 pounds. Yes, 100 pounds with Leanness Lifestyle. These four women welcomed me like I was an old best friend. We sat and laughed and talked for 2.5 hours until we realized we needed to eat and I needed to unpack before our 700 LL get together. Before I went to my room Angie presented a gift to me. A beautiful silver/black onyx bracelet with a heart charm hanging from it that says Run On on one side and Coach Julie on the other. It is beautiful. Like I said, incredible.


22 of us met at the LL 'meet and greet'. Coach Dave, Coach Tom and a friend, Chad Coy-personal trainer from Kokomo IN were also in attendance. Dave gave a fabulous presentation, we introduced ourselves to one another and chit chatted. It was so wonderful to meet everyone in person. We learned that Chad, Dave and Tom would be training us in the morning. I couldn't wait.

Saturday morning arrived and I went out for an 8 mile run. It was warm and sunny at 5 AM. After a quick trip to Starbucks it was about ready for the workout. I had Doreen from IL ride with me to the gym, roughly 20 miles or so away. Doreen and I were partners for a few assignments in Bootcamp 1 or 2. I don't recall which. We followed Sylvia from WI to the gym (and everywhere else in IL!) thanks Sylvia!You never led us astray!

The workout was intense. Chad led us through a warm up that felt like a workout. We were at an Anytime Fitness and there were 22 of us. We managed to have enough room, even with a few gym regulars doing their thing. After the warm up Chad told us we would be doing a circuit training type of workout..we'd partner up with another and go through 14 stations..for 90 seconds each, then a recovery, moving onto the next station, x 3 (or 4?). As people were pairing off I just kind of stood there, looking around, thinking I felt like I was in 6th grade and was waiting for someone to pick me for dodge ball and alas, no one would ever pick me. I was not the athletic one! I heard Liz from NY ask Dave 'who should I partner with' I thought I heard him say 'Julie' but I thought I was probably just wishful thinking. Sure enough Liz came up and asked me if I'd be her partner. We were perfect for one another. Man, we worked out butts off. We did rows, bouncing a heavy ball, push ups on a ball, shoulder rows, lunges, squats...by the second round through I was thinking that I probably shouldn't have run first! My quads were on fire. Sweat was pouring off of my body. Coach Tom asked if I was OK. Yeah, I'm OK. I was totally loving it. Pushing through the exhaustion, seeing how much I could handle. How many push ups could I do in 90 seconds, how many ball ham curl things, how much weight on the chest pulls? Amazing. I and Liz were getting tired on the last round. She didn't slow down on the lunges AT ALL. I did. Dave came over and told us to step it up a notch. Faster arms, faster lunges, holy crap I about died. Really. I had a few hacking attacks. I managed to take Troy's cold with me. I'm still hacking like a cigarette smoker. I hung in there. Finished the hour + workout. Chad then led us through a core/ab blaster. My abs still hurt. We finished with the plank. Longest person to hold would win a free dinner. I held it for 2 minutes and dropped. I thought that was long! Christy from TX and Holly from CO held for FIVE minutes! Chad called a tie. 5 minutes! Wow.

After the workout we headed back to Rockford for shower/lunch before the pre judging at 1230. A shower never felt so good!

Prejudging was amazing. I've never see it before. I was totally immersed. Watching the poses, the definition, the suits, the color. So much to learn.



After prejudging I went back to my room and read "I Am Ozzy" for a while. I though I may take a nap but I was too keyed up. I went for a short run. The show began at 7. We had fantastic seats. We were right in back of the sponsors. It was incredible. A huge show, 156 competitors, figure and bodybuilding. Again, amazing. I picked the woman winner. She had beautiful full muscles, but could have been a bit darker, had great poses and looked amazing. She was from the masters class and took overall. Mary looked incredible and her routine was so beautiful, graceful, awesome. Wow.

After the show it was off for a late dinner, lots of talk and fun. Dave had me stand at the end of the table and do a front double bicep pose. I turned beet red and became hot and sweaty. I did get the pose off and it must have been OK as this led to much discussion..which is just what I was looking for. We visited until after midnight. I was exhausted. Unless I'm running a 100, I am never up at midnight!

I slept until 5 and went for a quick run before breakfast. Our last hurrah before everyone went their separate ways. An amazing discussion at breakfast about my goals for the future. These people. Inspiring. Motivating. Personal Growth. You people are incredible and I am a better person for meeting you all. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Early Weekend

My weekend has already begun! Can't beat that, hu? Pretty sweet. I had scheduled tomorrow as a vacation day and then figured I might as well take today too..just to enjoy.

After dropping Troy off at school and Tyler off at work Topaz and I headed off for Lake Maria State Park again. I love that park! I love the abundance of trails..and maps. Most intersections have a huge map with a "you are here" dot placed where I can actually figure out where I am. Today we took a few different trails around the park for a total of 34 miles. Lots of soaking in the water for Topaz-we began at 54F and finished at 79F.

In only one weeks time I notice many changes. Much more leaf coverage. I thought the woods seemed dense before. Now all of the oaks are leafed out and thick. The ferns all shot up to full height. Lots of ground cover. The wildflowers blossomed! Beautiful! Not only did the tadpoles turn into frogs, the eggs turned into mosquitoes. Ooh, they are in full force! I haven't purchased repellant yet so I was chowed upon. Oh well. The wonderful woods were definitely worth all of the bites.

Tomorrow I head off for Chicago and the Leanness Lifestyle weekend. It is sure to be a ton of fun!

Happy Birthday!

Death By Chocolate (Cake)

Death By Chocolate (Cake)

Steve turned 46 years old. Yikes. Whenever he has a birthday all I think about is that I am closely following behind. He is 46 now, I'll be 46 in December. Pretty soon that will be 50. Oh well. I don't feel 45. Or 46. Or 50. Does anyone feel as old as they are? I would say I feel a solid 24. Yup, 24 is good.

Anyway, I've made this all about me. Actually it is Steve's birthday. Usually he asks for a Lemon Meringue or a Key Lime Pie. I think I've made 10 of each. We've been together since we were 16, so that is many birthdays! I was pretty excited when I asked what he'd like for his birthday dinner and his response was : extra thick porkchops-grilled, stuffing, grilled carrots/onion/potato mixture and..Death By Chocolate Cake with homemade Rocky Road Ice Cream. Wow, rock on Steve! He's been listening to the converstations of myself and the boys too much: I bet Dad will want lemon pie. Ick. I bet Dad will want key lime pie. Ick. Poor guy!

Last night after I returned home from coaching the MDRA Women's Run Group we all tried a piece of cake. Yup, even me. God, it was fab. Just fabulous.

Here are the details:

Death By Chocolate Cake

Brownie base
5/8 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into six pieces
1 1/8 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate mousse filling
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-ounce pieces
1 7/8 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Chocolate cake
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
7/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/8 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1/4 cup hot water
7/8 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk

Fudgy Chocolate Frosting

9 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract

To make the brownie base:
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom and line the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Spray lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.

3. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.)

4. When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs on at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in two additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.

5. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using a small off-set spatula or bench scraper, spread batter evenly and smooth the surface. Bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour (do not remove the springform ring or parchment collar).

To make the cake:
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment and spray bottom and sides with baking spray.

2. Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, and hot water in medium heatproof bowl; set bowl over saucepan containing 1 inch of simmering water and stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup sugar to chocolate mixture and stir until thick and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool.

3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl and set aside.

4. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk eggs and yolks on medium-low speed until combined, about 10 seconds. Add remaining sugar, increase speed to high, and whisk until fluffy and lightened in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Replace whisk with paddle attachment.

5. Add cooled chocolate mixture to egg/sugar mixture and mix on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated, 30 to 45 seconds, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing about 10 seconds after each addition. Add about one-third of flour mixture followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until incorporated after each addition (about 15 seconds).

6. Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture (batter may appear separated). Scrape down sides of bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Pour into prepared pan; smooth batter to edges of pan with an offset spatula.

7. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Cool cake in pan 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack and cool completely.

To make the Chocolate mousse filling:
1. Place stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer or fridge.

2. Heat 1-inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. Place the semisweet chocolate in the top half of the double boiler. Tightly cover the top with film wrap and allow to heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Transfer the melted chocolate to a stainless steel bowl and set aside until needed.

3. Place heavy cream and sugar in the well-chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a well-chilled whisk attachment. Whisk on high until stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

4. By hand, whisk to combine 1/4 of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate until smooth and completely incorporated. Add the combined whipped cream and chocolate to the remaining whipped cream and use a rubber spatula to fold together.

To make the Frosting:
1. Put chocolate in a stainless steel bowl and place bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove the bowl from the pot and set the chocolate aside to cool.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat at high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Add the cooled chocolate at low speed, mixing until blended and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Increase the speed to high and beat until slightly aerated, about 1 minute.

To assemble the dessert:
1. Spread mousse over top of the brownie base evenly. Use an offset spatula or bench scraper to smooth the top.

2. Place cake round over mousse, pressing down lightly. Chill for 1 hour.

3. Remove springform ring and parchment collar. Use a spatula to smooth the room temperature ganache over the cake top and sides, covering evenly.

4. Place the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a #18 tip and pipe a shell border around the base. Replace with tip #1M and pipe 12-16 rosettes around the top of the cake to indicate servings. Serve chilled and store leftovers in the fridge. Cut the cake with a hot, dry knife.

Yields 12-16 servings

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Change of Plans

Well, I didn't make it up north to the Spring Superior Races. I shouldn't have registered last week, I should have waited for race day registration after all. Oh well.

Steve decided on Thursday to head up north for the fishing opener. He caught a glimpse of the weekend forecast and couldn't resist. I couldn't blame him! Tyler works all weekend and Troy has baseball games and photos so I chose to spend the weekend at home.

Today was a beautiful day. Sunshine, mid 70's. I walked around outside all day long with a smile on my face. Chores such as weeding, planting, scrubbing patio furniture and such are rather pleasant while basking in the sun. I love it. I was whistling all day long.

Topaz and I headed off to Lake Maria State Park again for our own private 50K. Such a beautiful park. There were a few more tents occupying the campsites but I didn't see any humans. Plenty of horses, eagle and deer! I found 13 more miles of trail that I didn't run weekend. Fabulous. A quick shower and off to baseball. I love summer ball. Fun in the sun!

Tomorrow looks like another beautiful day on tap, I'll head off to the park again for another long run and dip into the lake before baseball duties call.

The boys have grown up so quickly I don't want to miss out on any games, tournaments or anything else. Sheesh, Tyler has his first year of college all wrapped up, classes are finished. He'll graduate from High School in a few weeks. I can't believe it. Today he spent a few hours at home after work and before heading out to a movie. I'm glad I was here for those few hours to just hang out with him. Time is moving by too quickly for me.

I don't know if I'll be making it out to Bighorn. Without a 50 mile run this weekend I don't believe I'll be ready. Next weekend I'll be in Chicago and then it's only a few weeks out. It's not looking so good. You know what, I'm ok with it. Who said that? Yeah, me.

Strange. I'm not uptight over it, I'm not stressed, I don't feel like a failure. Strange indeed.

I'm looking forward to meeting up with all my friends of Leanness Lifestyle next weekend. I can't wait! There are over 30 of us who will be meeting for a seminar with David on Friday, workouts on Saturday and the bodybuilding competition on Saturday night. Awesome!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rail

Rails to Trails

TRAILS.

This weekend I again ran upon trails that I hadn't visited before.

Early Saturday morning I headed over to the Blue Hill Trail where I normally run. As Topaz and I began to run up the trail I saw the Ranger pull into the lot. Forget this. I'm going somewhere else, I thought to myself. I didn't want to be hasseled by him anymore. I turned around and ran back to the car. As we passed him he asked if I had yet mailed my fine. I looked at him, made eye contact, and continued running toward my car. The fine isn't due until the 22nd, it's $250 and I really don't need this guy on my case anymore.

I drove north a few miles looking for a trail had I had come across before. After Topaz and I jumped out of the car I saw the sign "no admitance from March 1 to August 1' foiled again. A few more stops with the same results.

Let's get out of the Wildlife Refuge!

I decided to park at a Grant Aid Trail near home. There were a few mile of muddy snowmobile trails, a few miles of horse trails and it fizzled out. I looked at my watch. Well, we ran a whopping 11 miles. Not quiet the mileage I was looking for before heading to the Twins game, but it was something. Too much time wasted driving along looking for trail.

RAILS

Quick shower, quickly make french toast for Steve and the boys and we were off to catch the Northstar Train. We decided since we had no errands to run before or after the Twins game we would ride the Northstar Train. The train begins in Big Lake, stops in Elk River, Anoka, Coon Rapids and Fridley enroute to Target Field in Minneapolis. From Target Field one can catch the Hiawatha Line to the airport, Mall of America and whatnot. I think I may take it when I fly out to Chicago in a few weeks.

I was amazed when we pulled into the Northstar lot and it was full. We stood in line to get our ‘family pass’ a two- way travel voucher for $17 and boarded the train. We were able to get a booth next to the window for four so that we could enjoy the view . By the time we reached Coon Rapids the train was standing room only. We were full! What a great way to travel to Minneapolis. No traffic, no parking costs, easy breezy.

Unfortanately the Twins lost to the Orioles (but won the second game of the double header and the game on Sunday) 3-7. Even with a loss the afternoon at Target Field was a blast. This field is really top notch. We absolutely love it. Hopefully the next game we attend has a winning outcome!

Trails. I didn’t really know where to run on Sunday. I didn’t want to go to Blue Hill and I didn’t want to drive all over the Twin Cities again. I wanted to run near home, on trail, not road and I wanted to take Topaz. I decided to check out the summer trails of Lake Maria State Park. I have run the snowshoe trails here as I coach snowshoe classes here but have never run upon the summer trails.

I filled a few gallons of water, heed and grabbed some gels. I wanted to start early before it became too warm for Topaz so I left before 5. My plan was to run 30 miles for the day, but wasn’t sure what Topaz would be up for. I’d run whatever I could with him and finish up on road or treadmill at home. I began in long pants, gloves and long sleeved shirt as it was 28F and there was snow on the ground. By the end of the run I was in shorts and a short-sleeved top.

The park was beautiful. There are many lakes within the 2000 acres and a handful of ponds. The trails meander over rolling hills, some steep with great lookouts over the city of Monticello. This park holds one of the few remaining stands of the "Big Woods," a maple, oak and basswood forest that once covered part of southern Minnesota.

Backpack sites, located on remote lakes and ponds throughout the park, are one to two miles from the trailhead parking. New log camper cabins, located near lakes and ponds, provide bunk beds for six people and a table and benches for campers who want more of the comforts than a tent may provide.

The park lies in the St. Croix Moraine which was formed during the last glacier, the Wisconsin Age.

I loved the rolling terrain. The trails were soft dirt with a few roots and lots of leaves. The ferns, leaves and wildflowers were opening and just beautiful.

I didn’t see one other person! I couldn’t believe it. I saw two cars in the lot and two tents in a backpack site and that was it.

We ran a 7 mile loop around the park and then a 3 mile trail around the end of Lake Maria. There were plenty of lakes for Topaz to cool off and drink from. I had parked the car in the center of the park so I was able to come back for a refill or change of clothes when necessary.

After 10 miles I changed into shorts and had a gel and banana, refilled a bottle and removed my gloves. It was warming up nicely.

Topaz was doing fine. My hamstrings were getting a workout as I haven’t been running hills in forever but the hills didn’t seem to bother him. I set off for another trail, this one an 8 miler. It was absolutely beautiful! The terrain reminded me of the race in WI-the Glacial Trail. Lots of constant rolling hills, beautiful outcrops and great views.

We headed back to the car for a refill and I noticed 4 huge horse trailers had arrived. I never saw any of the horses on the trail but they were out there somewhere.

Because it was a cool morning Topaz was doing fine. He wasn’t lagging at all he full of more energy than I, so we kept on moving. We ran the first 10 mile section again, again just thrilled with the course and the views. This time we came upon many deer and two fox.

After a last quick dip in the lake for Topaz and a bottle of water for me, we headed back home.

Lake Maria State Park is a real nice park for running with miles of trail, beautiful lakes, awesome views. We’ll definitely be back!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Foodstuffs

I've received a lot of questions relating to my eating habits. Depending on my current goals or how curious I am to experiment I will switch around my diet to obtain a desired outcome. I may be eating an all vegan diet, or mostly raw, or paleo for athletes, a bodybuilding diet or a weight loss diet.

One thing that hasn’t changed in the past few years is the type of diet I consume. I haven’t been eating anything in the past few years that contains highly processed ingredients, high sugars or high fat. No matter the type of foods that I am eating, they are ALWAYS WHOLE FOODS. It has been proven over and over again that ingesting a diet of highly processed, sugared foods leads to disease. Information that doesn’t waver is that a diet of WHOLE foods is best for health. This fact doesn’t change with the latest government food pyramid or the latest fad.

If a food is sitting on a grocery shelf, wrapped in a box with a health claim stamped upon it, it probably isn’t healthy. The potato, the broccoli, the bananas, they don’t need a wrapper with a health claim stamped upon it! They don’t even have a wrapper on which to stamp.

Over the years we have heard conflicting information: remember the low fat craze? We were told to lower our fat and that this would decrease our chances of heart disease. What happened? The industrialized food corporations brought on Snackwells, low fat poptarts and Olestra chips, etc. were developed. Is Olestra still out there? I recall everyone complaining of stomach problems after ingesting. Americans began to gorge on these highly processed foods and did heart disease go down? No. Americans became fatter. Remember the low carb craze? Don’t eat that pasta or that potato! Eat the man made low carb variety with 41 ingredients instead. Did this make Americans healthier? Um, no but everything in the grocery store was then wearing a label stating LOW CARB.

One writer who I continually read is Michael Pollan. His latest book, Food Rules, is a book that shouldn’t have had to have been written, yet is a very valuable piece. It answers the question “what should I eat?” Some of these rules are so obvious you'd think someone would have thought to write this sooner as we have all probably thought of these rules before but have not put them to paper. We live in a country full of beautiful packaging and low-fat, low-carb options and yet we are getting bigger and bigger. This isn't a diet book, it's a lifestyle book. I think it is a great beginning step for those who have not yet begun to eat a healthier diet. I also think this book will lead it’s readers to Michael Pollan’s other works if they haven’t yet read them.

IN DEFENSE OF FOOD is my favorite of Pollan’s. On the cover he writes : Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants. This is the premise of the book.

I wouldn’t have thought it necessary to be told to eat food. Duh. What else would I eat? Wrong. Food = Real Food. Not the heavily processed refined grains, the fake foods that have taken over the shelves of the supermarket. Even yogurt now has go-gurt, a squeezable yogurt that has 18 ingredients and none of them am I able to identify or pronounce. This product is a man made highly processed non-food. That’s only one example. It isn’t a real food.

In Defense of Food is very easy to read, uncomplicated and full of information. I have reread it at least 4 times over the past few years.

I think the following hints that Pollan lists are brilliant!

• Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. Yeah, such as the go gurt. She would have thought it was toothpaste!
• Avoid food products containing ingredients that are unfamiliar, unpronounceable, more than five in number or include high fructose corn syrup.
• Avoid food products that make health claims.
• Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle
• Get out of the supermarket whenever possible Purchase a CSA plan or shop your farmers market
• Eat mostly plants, especially leaves
• You are what you eat eats too The animals we eat have a bearing on the nutritional quality of the food itself whether it is meat or milk or eggs. You’ll notice when you buy eggs from a grass fed chicken they will have a bright orange yolk. This is the beta carotene from fresh green grass.
• If you have space buy a freezer When you find a good source of pastured meat, you’ll want to buy it in quantity. The more you purchase the less expensive it is.
• Eat more like the French or the Italian or the Japanese or the Indians or the Greeks. Almost every diet is much healthier than people eating the Standard American Diet.
• Regard nontraditional foods with skepticism It pays to approach novelties with caution. A novel food resembles a mutation: soy products is one example-the soy isolates and soy isoflavones are highly processed foods. You can be eating a vegan diet and still be eating a very unhealthy diet. The vegan ‘sausage, burger, bacon’ stay away.
• Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does American gas stations now make more money selling food than selling gasoline. The food is highly processed nonperishable snack foods and extravagantly sweetened soft drinks. Gas stations have become processed-corn stations: ethanol outside for your car and high-fructose corn syrup inside for you.
• Cook and, if you can, plant a garden. I have a garden. It is probably 20 feet x 40 feet and it provides a great variety and a good amount of vegetables for us. I also buy a share in the local CSA each year to provide us with a good variety of veggies.

I also like Paleo Eating for Athletes. It isn’t much different from the Pollan way of thinking. PEFA is eating whole foods consisting of lean meats, fruits, veggies, nuts and healthy oils. As an ultrarunner I appreciate the V stages of nutritional timing outlined in PEFA. Of course the main difference is that Pollan includes whole grains where Cordain does not.

Following are the stages outlined in PEFA:
Stage I: Eating Before Exercise
In brief, we recommend that athletes eat low to moderate glycemic index
carbohydrates at least two hours prior to a hard or long workout or race. There may be some fat and protein in this meal. All foods should be low in fiber. Take in 200 to 300 calories for every hour remaining until exercise begins. If eating two hours prior is not possible, then take in 200 or so calories 10 minutes before the workout or race begins.
Stage II: Eating During Exercise
During long or hard workouts and races you will need to take in high glycemic index carbohydrates mostly in the form of fluids. Sports drinks are fine for this. Find one that you like the taste of and will drink willingly. Realize that events lasting less than about an hour (including warm-up) don’t require any carbohydrate. Water will suffice
for these. A starting point for deciding how much to take in is 200 to 400 calories per hour modified according to body size, experience and the nature of the exercise (longer events require more calories than short).
Stage III: Eating Immediately After In the first 30 minutes post workout (but only after long and/or highly intense exercise) and post race use a recovery drink that contains both carbohydrate and
protein in a 4_5:1 ratio. You can buy a commercial product for this. Or you can make your own by blending 16 ounces of fruit juice with a banana, 3 to 5 tablespoons of glucose depending on body size, about 3 tablespoons of protein powder, especially from
egg or whey sources and two pinches of salt. This 30_minute window is critical for recovery. It should be your highest priority after a hard workout or race
Stage IV: Eating for Extended Recovery
For the next few hours (as long as the preceding challenging exercise lasted) continue to focus your diet on carbohydrates, especially moderate to high glycemic load carbohydrates along with protein at a 4_5:1 carb/protein ratio. Now is the time to eat non-optimal foods such as pasta, bread, bagel s, rice, corn and other foods rich in glucose as they contribute to the necessary carbohydrate recovery process. Perhaps
the perfect Stage IV foods are raisins, potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams.
Stage V: Eating for Long_Term Recovery For the remainder of your day, or until your next Stage I, return to eating a Paleo Diet by focusing on optimal foods.

I’ve noticed lately that Troy, who is 14, is developing breakouts of acne on his forehead. Of course I don’t want to make him concerned over the breakouts or to bring attention to the acne. I did switch out his face washing lotion with a benzoyl peroxide based cleanser to see if it would help. It really hasn’t changed.

Many dermatologists state there is not a link between breakouts and diet. I can’t believe this to be true. I do break out when if I eat a product containing chocolate, something high in salt or dairy. I know that these foods cause me breakouts.

In reading about Loren Cordain I came across some research he has done pertaining to acne and diet. He has shown a direct link between diet and acne, notably between acne and dairy.

I just finished reading a book by Cordain related to the acne-diet connection. Last night I told Troy about the research. He reminded me of a time last year when he broke out in little bumps all over his face. At the time he was eating yogurt and berries for breakfast and a yogurt smoothie in the evening after baseball practice. We attributed the breakouts to yogurt and when he then stopped eating yogurt and the breakouts went away and I forgot all about it.

Troy told me that he has been drinking two cartons of milk at school each day with his lunch ( his unhealthy hot lunch that the school offers). This is a change that has taken place in the past three weeks. He also drinks milk with his bagel in the morning and a glass of milk with dinner.

Troy told me that he would like to try a two week trial to see if there is any change in his acne. I hadn’t yet suggested he try this, I was quiet after I presented him the research and was watching the wheels turn in his head.

I told Troy that I was proud of him for willing to make a change in his diet and he told me he didn’t think it would be too difficult, that he would think of it as an experiment. It will be interesting to see if his skin clears up due to the dairy!

So many times we want the magic pill for a fit body or a clear face, to give up smoking. Troy has learned that there isn’t a magic pill. To obtain the desired outcome you need to be responsible and be willing to lay the groundwork. One can’t eat crap and hope to be healthy. Hope doesn’t have a chance.

This morning Troy drank orange juice with his bagel and is going to pass on milk during his lunch. I’m anxious to watch Troy and to see the outcome of this experiment!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Trail Trippin'

I was able to visit a few different trails to run upon this weekend.

Saturday I met Alicia in Little Falls at the Charles Lindbergh State Park. We both looked at the map available online and thought the park offered 10 or so miles to run. We thought these trails hooked up with another park, offering another 10 or so additional miles to run. Not so.

The park was quiet, not many people around. There was a campground, bathrooms, canoe rental, Pikes Creek and the Mississippi River. Plenty of woods, some prairie and a bit of history as the landing site for the Lindbergh plane and the Lindbergh home are in the park.

Only one problem..there were only a few miles of trail! We ran the available trails twice and just didn't want to do them again. We asked at the visitor center where the trail hook up was and learned that there wasn't one. The closest park was Kathio, about 35 more miles. We didn't really feel like driving that much further.

Alicia mentioned she remembered passing the Crane Wildlife Refuge before entering Little Falls. I recalled the same. Alicia followed me to the Refuge and we came across a nice trail, only 5 miles though, that was a limestone gravel type surface. The trail meandered through oak and prairie, along the Platte River. We ran the trail twice, caught up on more conversation and called it a run.

It was great fun getting together with Alicia again. It's been way to long. We had lots of catching up to do!

I headed home and took Topaz out to the Blue Hill Trail for 5 more miles so that I could get in a total of 20. I kept him on leash..and guess who I saw laying in the grass with his movie camera? Yes, the Fish and Game Officer. I offered a forced hello and ran off.

Later on in the day I dug out the book my friend, Kate Havelin has published. Minnesota Running Trails. I looked up Charles Lindbergh State Park and she states " The map makes it look like there are lots of trails, but if you check the scale, you'll see it's in feet, not miles" I guess I should have looked at her review before heading out to Charles Lindbergh!

As I was paging through Kate's book I was reminded that Elm Creek Regional Park has 30 miles of dirt trails. I used to run the asphalt trails in the park when I first began to run. I remember the 10K Autumn Woods Classic was held here..a real fun race I did a few times.

I decided that since Topaz has taken to a leash so well (after the first debacle) that I would take him out to Maple Grove to check out the dirt trails this morning.

We had a great time. The park is so beautiful. Over 5000 acres, miles of trails, woods, grasslands, a beach, a 30 acre fenced in dog park, bathrooms, water, anything you might need. The map I downloaded was easy to follow.

We ran around Mud Lake, to Goose Lake, along Rush Creek. There are plenty of rolling hills and the views are just beautiful. There weren't very many people out this morning. A few runners on the asphalt trail-I think a Grandma's Marathon training group, some bicyclists and a few people riding horseback. I didn't see anyone running the dirt trails. With plenty of water for Topaz to soak in, I was able to get another 20 miler in.

New weekend I'll run a 25, the following weekend I'll run 50M at the Superior 50K races and a few hill workouts, I should be ready for Big Horn 100.

Maybe I'll go back to Elm Creek next week to run the tubing hills! I'll have to call in advance to see if I can do so.

We are going to the Twins game on Saturday. Free baseball caps to the first 20000. I wonder how early we would have to arrive to get the caps and I bet the boys wouldn't think it was worth getting up early.